Two goals within two injury-time minutes saw an enthralling end to the game as Nottingham Forest and Reading played out a 1-1 draw this afternoon.
Ben Watson thought he had secured a huge three points for Forest with his 95-minute strike, but two minutes later and Reading were level through Tobias Figueiredo’s unfortunate own goal.
It was a battling performance from both sides in a game lacking clear-cut chances, with a draw a fair result despite Forest’s frustrations at throwing away their late lead.
Sabri Lamouchi made one change to the side which defeated Blackburn in the last league outing, with Yuri Ribeiro coming into the side in place of Joe Lolley, while Alex Mighten took his place on the bench following an impressive display against Chelsea last weekend.
The Reds started well as they created several half-chances inside the opening half-hour. Tobias Figueiredo headed a corner over the bar, Sammy Ameobi saw an effort well blocked inside the penalty area and Lewis Grabban volleyed over the bar as Forest mounted pressure on The Royals’ goal.
Mistakes were creeping into the Reading defence, with stray passes allowing Forest to attack but they couldn’t make the most of their opportunities as the game remained level.
Reading produced several dangerous crosses into the penalty area without anyone connecting with it, but on 37 minutes they had the game’s best chance as Ovie Ejaria slid a pass-through for Yakou Meite but Brice Samba was alert to save with his legs at the near post.
The second half brought two huge chances for both sides within the 10 minutes of the restart.
Firstly, Grabban raced clear from the Reading defence and rounded Rafael Cabral, with the keeper getting a hand to the ball to force him wide. Grabban did well to lift the ball back over the goalkeeper but Liam Moore was on hand on the goal line to clear the ball away from danger.
Minutes later and Reading came within inches of taking the lead as Tyler Blackett worked his way into the Forest penalty area but show his low effort bounce back off the post and The Reds defence could clear.
An improved second-half performance from Reading saw them create another opening just before the hour mark, with a corner into the Forest box causing a scramble with Michael Morrison forcing the ball goalwards but Samba instinctively parrying it away.
There was a feisty edge to the game, with some tough, but fair tackles put in by both sides as the two in-form teams battled for the points.
As the game headed into five minutes of injury time, the goalmouth action exploded into life as Forest thought they had snatched all three points right at the death.
A corner from substitute Joe Lolley was kept alive by Joe Worrall who volleyed back across goal for Ben Watson to volley into the bottom corner, sparking wild celebrations among the Forest players and bench as it looked like they were heading for four wins in a row.
But straight from the kick-off, the game was allowed to run well over the allotted additional time, giving Reading one last attack with Jordan Obita’s teasing delivery from the left turned into his own net by Tobias Figueiredo as the home side secured a point.
An intriguing contest which ended in a stalemate between two sides in good shape and they will do it all over again in 11 days’ time at The City Ground.
Forest: Samba, Cash, Worrall, Figueiredo, Chema (Jenkinson 87’), Watson (c), Sow, Silva (Yates 69’), Ameobi, Ribeiro (Lolley 69’), Grabban
Unused subs: Smith, Dawson, Adomah, Mighten
Goal: Watson 90+5’
Bookings: Silva 45’, Watson 90’
Reading: Rafael, Gunter, Morrison, Moore (c), Blackett, Adam (Obita 76’), Swift, Pele, Ejaria (Rinomhota 80’), Meite, Baldock (Puscas 63’)
Unused subs: Walker, Miazga, McCleary, Loader
Goal: Figueiredo OG 90+7’
Bookings: Swift 38’, Meite 87’
Referee: Dean Whitestone
Attendance: 16,602 (2,073 away)